NREL Senior Engineer – Distribution Systems Operations and Control in Golden, Colorado

Posting Title

Senior Engineer – Distribution Systems Operations and Control



CO - Golden


Position Type



Hours Per Week



Job Description

The energy system integration team at NREL is looking for an accomplished and motivated candidate with excellent collaboration skills to join our cutting-edge research team. The ideal candidate will bring a strong track record in analysis and application of emerging control technologies, control algorithm development, distributed and centralized optimization, control architecture development and data analytics paradigms toward the design, modeling, and operation of next-generation power systems. The candidate should demonstrate experience in performing algorithm development and simulation studies to evaluate new system-level control and optimization algorithms. Application domains include, but are not limited to: Advanced Distribution Management Systems, Volt-VAR control, Fault location Isolation and Service Restoration (FLISR), Multi energy system optimization, distributed control of smart grids, microgrid control, frequency regulation, optimal power flow and demand response. Ideal candidates will work towards the implementation of control and optimization algorithms for power systems operations in simulation platforms and support the implementation of control and optimization algorithms in hardware tests and possibly field deployments.

The successful candidate will be part of the Grid Automation and Control (GAC) group under the Power Systems Engineering Center (PSEC) at NREL. PSEC supports the science and technology goals of the U.S. Department of Energy and NREL toward a sustainable energy future. The center works with the electricity industry to optimize strategies for effectively interconnecting renewable resources and emerging energy efficiency technologies in the existing electric power system. The center focuses on resolving grid integration barriers and providing improved control and management strategies for increased grid flexibility, consumer empowerment, and transportation electrification.

The job responsibilities include:

  • Collaborate with management and senior staff to develop funding in distribution optimization, control, and automation areas

  • Execute major projects and/or programs in a project leadership role

  • Represent NREL as the prime technical contact on contracts and projects

  • Demonstrate leadership in several areas of team, task, or project lead responsibilities

  • Demonstrate experience in management of projects

  • Provide reports on technical work and input to technical publications and presentations

  • Publish results in top technical journals/conference proceedings; present work at conferences, symposia, and review meetings

  • Interact with and provide regular project reports to government and/or industrial clients

  • Follow all Environment, Safety, and Health policies and procedures to ensure and maintain a safe working environment


Basic Qualifications

Option one:

PhD in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering or Systems Engineering fields and 4 or more years of experience in a related field.

Option Two:

Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering or Systems Engineering fields and 7 or more years of experience in a related field.

Option Three:

Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering or Systems Engineering fields and 9 or more years of experience in a related field.


Additional Qualifications

Preferred Qualifications

Ideal candidates will have a background and expertise in one or more of the following topics:

  • Development and evaluation of centralized control algorithms with applications to Advanced Distribution Management Systems and Microgrid Management Systems

  • Distribution state estimation or topology identification algorithms, integrated applications that span across multiple management systems

  • Distributed and decentralized control, convex optimization

  • Distributed solution methods for convex programs, and machine learning

  • Familiarity with latest findings in control and optimization literature within the context of power systems

  • Demonstrates broad understanding and wide application of principles, theories, and concepts in operations, controls, and optimization of power systems areas

  • Comprehensive knowledge of the electric utility industry, regulated and unregulated markets, as well as cutting edge smart grid concepts and developments

  • General knowledge of other related disciplines

  • Knowledge of communication protocols used in power systems

  • Proficiency in electrical system simulation programs (e.g. OpenDSS, GridLAB-D, Matlab/Simulink SimPowerSystems toolbox, PSCAD, SynergGEE, CYMDIST, Distributed Engineering Workstation, Powerworld, PSSE, PSLF)

  • Proficiency in one or more of the following programming languages: Python, Java, C, C++, C#

  • Experience with multi-person structured software development including creating modular, object-oriented code and working with code version control systems (e.g. GIT, SVN)

  • Demonstrated experience in performing simulation studies, and conducting real-time simulations using hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) techniques

  • Experience in developing control algorithms for buildings and electric power distribution systems

  • Knowledge of building modeling tools and load modeling methodologies would be an added advantage

  • Experience with Opal-RT and RTDS systems would be an added advantage

  • Applies extensive engineering technical expertise, and has full knowledge of other related disciplines.

  • Considered a technical resource.

  • Demonstrates leadership in several areas of team, task or project lead responsibilities.

  • Demonstrated experience in management of projects.

  • Excellent writing, interpersonal and communication skills.


Submission Guidelines

Please note that in order to be considered an applicant for any position at NREL you must submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions. Please include a cover letter and resume with each position application.


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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to secure an environmentally and economically sustainable energy future. With locations in Golden and Boulder, Colorado, and a satellite office in Washington, D.C., NREL is the primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of renewable energy technologies in the United States.

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